Remembering Safety Basics During the Pandemic

Alan Schmitt, ARM-P

Area Vice President Loss Control

The year 2020 has dealt us many obstacles and forced us to think outside the box and change how we perform our daily duties.  However, some of these changes may impact the safety of our facilities, students, and staff.   Therefore, we must take a step back and refocus on some safety basics.

There are three primary areas I would like to address:

  • Life Safety
  • Security
  • Slip, Trip and Falls

Life Safety

When thinking of the safety of our students and staff, Life Safety should be our top priority.  As you walk your campus, it is important that you continuously look for items that could impact life safety systems.    For example, COVID has changed many traffic flows in our schools and has also limited some of the emergency drills we perform.  Although some physical changes have been implemented, we must ensure that they do not affect our ability to safely and efficiently exit the building.  This is also true with the emergency drills we are required to perform. Although we may not physically perform all of the drills in real-time, we can still perform virtual drills and physically show our students the proper route for exiting the buildings.

Finally, we can’t forget to inspect fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, and exit lights.


COVID has also changed how many of our schools have staff and students enter and exit the facility.  Since there is an increase in the use of numerous doors, we need to make sure that all perimeter doors remain secured.  It may be necessary to perform several security checks during the day to make sure we are maintaining perimeter security.

Slips, Trips and Falls

There are several items we need to consider pertaining to slips, trips, and falls.  COVID protocols have created additional slip trip and fall hazards.  Two key areas to review and monitor include: the increased use of chemicals for cleaning, which can create a slip and fall hazard, and markings on floors to identify social distancing and direction of travel.  Many times these markings either begin to come loose from the floor, or they are made from a material that has a greater possibility to create a slippery surface.

Slip, trip, and fall accidents continue to be a common source of injury to our students and staff.  It is, therefore, important to consciously look for and be aware of these hazards.

Overall, safety basics have not changed. Schools must continue to be on alert for safety concerns and hazards.  However, during this school year, we have many other distractions that can cloud our focus on the basics.

Take a minute to look around your facilities to make sure you have the safety basics covered.